WASHINGTON – The conveyor belt of winter storms has exhausted budgets for snow removal — well before the season ends.
Agencies in Maryland and Virginia report blowing through their budgets long ago, and they’re now operating tens of millions of dollars over them.
“Through this weekend, the Maryland State Highway Administration has spent just about $80 million,” says David Buck, a spokesman.
The budget going into the winter season was $46 million. The SHA averaged well above that figure in each of the past five years, and the legislature has responded with incremental increases going forward.
Even so, the cost of snow removal this season topped the five-year average, with more winter weather on the way.
“There’s absolutely no way that we would ever stop salting or treating the roads,” assures Buck.
He says a significant amount of salt is on hand for remaining storms.
In Northern Virginia, the Virginia Department of Transportation spent about $80 million on snow removal. Its budget was $63 million.
“We’ll continue to perform at the same level that we always have, and at the end of the winter we will look to other parts of our maintenance budget to fill that void,” says Jennifer McCord, a spokeswoman with VDOT.
More winter storms are possible this week and weekend.